Flinn Foundation, UA Name First Visiting Scholar Recipient

Acclaimed Medical Education Expert Will Help Improve Physician Training in Arizona
PHOENIX – A highly respected national medical education expert has been named the first Flinn Medical Innovation Visiting Scholar at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.
 
Michael E. Whitcomb, MD, former senior vice president for medical education for the Association of American Medical Colleges, was named the first Visiting Scholar. He will help the College of Medicine – Phoenix, as a developing campus, further empower its role in facilitating innovations in healthcare for Arizona.
 
The Flinn Foundation and the College of Medicine – Phoenix announced the creation of a five-year visiting scholars program to bring respected innovators to Arizona to work in concert with the downtown Phoenix medical school. Each scholar will spend one year on a specific project.
 
“This is a phenomenal opportunity to bring a respected leader in medical education to Arizona to help develop innovative concepts for improving medical education and guide us in an the present environment of seismic transformation of healthcare delivery,” said Stuart D. Flynn, MD, dean of the College of Medicine – Phoenix.
 
Plans are for Dr. Whitcomb to work on developing a new collaborative model for funding graduate medical education. Funds for residency training are being cut at the federal and state levels. Sustained, collaborative support and funding will stabilize and form the base to expand residency programs and their quality, improving efforts to recruit physicians to practice in Arizona.
 
In addition to a lifetime career in medicine, Dr. Whitcomb was an advisor for the Flinn Foundation in its development of the statewide Arizona Medical Education Consortium as well as an advisor on the 5-year-old Phoenix campus of the UA College of Medicine.
 
“Dr. Whitcomb will be instrumental in helping us find a more sustainable, collaborative model for graduate medical education in Arizona,” said Jack Jewett, president and chief executive officer of the Flinn Foundation. “While funding has diminished at both the federal and state levels, GME continues to play a critical role in recruiting residents to Arizona to help address our physician shortage and in training our medical students in clinical settings.  Dr. Whitcomb is ideally suited to work with the teaching hospitals and the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix to identify mutual opportunities to advance Arizona GME during these challenging times."
 
Dr. Whitcomb graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and completed an internal medicine residency and fellowship in pulmonary medicine at Walter Reed General Hospital. After serving in the Army for several years, he joined the faculty at Boston University and then moved to The Ohio State University where he became associate dean for clinical affairs. He spent a year as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow of the Institute of Medicine before returning to Ohio State as assistant vice president for health services. He served as dean of the schools of medicine at the universities of Missouri and Washington before returning to Ohio State to establish the university’s Center for Health Policy Studies.
 
In 1994, Dr. Whitcomb joined the American Medical Association as founding director of the division of graduate medical education and the next year became senior vice president for medical education and director of the division of medical education for the Association of American Medical Colleges. In 2004 he was appointed director of the AAMC Institute for Improving Medical Education. He retired in 2006 but has remained active in assisting universities involved in establishing new medical schools or new regional campuses. He also served as editor of Academic Medicine, the journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, for six years.
 
Dr. Whitcomb has published more than 100 papers ranging from medical education to health policy issues and authored a number of special reports for government agencies and professional organizations. In 2009 he authored a major report on new and developing medical schools for the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation and last year authored another report on graduate medical education.
 
Dr. Whitcomb currently serves as a Professorial Lecturer in Health Policy at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.
 
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About the Flinn Foundation
The Flinn Foundation is a Phoenix-based, private, nonprofit philanthropic endowment established in 1965 by Dr. and Mrs. Robert S. Flinn with the mission of improving the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. In addition to the biosciences, the Foundation supports the Flinn Scholars Program, arts and culture, and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership.
 
About the College of Medicine – Phoenix
The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix admitted its first class of first-year medical students in August 2007. The College of Medicine – Phoenix currently has 192 students training to be physicians. The college seeks to promote health and improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease for the people of Arizona and beyond through education, research and patient care.